Roaring 2010: Get ready for the Year of the Tiger


By Linda McIntosh


The Year of the Tiger begins Feb. 14 and kicks off Chinese New Year celebrations around San Diego County, where an estimated 70,000 ethnic Chinese live. For 15 days, area clubs, schools and civic groups are hosting Dragon Dances, lantern parades, cultural performances and exhibits that highlight customs passed down through generations.

“We want to preserve Chinese culture and bring awareness of age-old traditions to the community,” said Linh Du, who is coordinating the 28th annual San Diego Chinese New Year Fair on Feb. 20-21 in downtown San Diego.

Those born in the Year of the Tiger are said to be energetic and powerful as befits the tiger. The tiger is one of 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac, and the Year of the Tiger recurs every 12 years.

Here’s a sampling of events and exhibits in the San Diego area celebrating Chinese New Year:

Now through April: ‘Five Dynasties of Chinese Pottery’ and other exhibits

This major show at the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum, 404 Third Ave. in downtown San Diego, traces 2,000 years of the evolution of Chinese ceramic arts from the Han to the Ming dynasties. In addition, the museum presents a display of eight hand-made ceramic Chinese opera characters from the early 20th century, which expands the permanent collection. The museum features an exhibit on Chinese New Year prints and on traditional items for New Year celebrations, such as lanterns and firecrackers. Admission is $2 and free for members and kids under age 12.

Feb. 13: Chinese New Year Celebration

Taiko drumming and song and dances at 7 p.m., hosted by the Taiwanese American Foundation at the Taiwan Center, 7838 Wilkerson Court, San Diego. Free. A dinner box with raffle ticket is $10, starting at 6 p.m.

Feb. 14: House of China Open House

Held from 1 to 4 p.m. weekly in Balboa Park. Stop by and have your name written in Chinese characters. The House of China is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year.,

Feb. 16: Qigong

Qigong instructor Fay McGrew will discuss the ancient Chinese health practice of self-healing, Chinese medicine and tai chi. Free. Noon to 1 p.m. in Aztlan A & B in the Student Center at MiraCosta College’s Oceanside campus, 1 Barnard Drive.

Feb. 17: Acupuncture

Acupuncturist Daniel Haun will give a presentation on traditional Chinese medical techniques and offer tips on how to improve overall health and well-being. The free workshop is from noon to 1 p.m. in Aztlan A & B in the Student Center at MiraCosta College’s Oceanside campus, 1 Barnard Drive.

Feb. 18: Lion Dance and Kung Fu

Sample Chinese food and watch a traditional lion dance and kung fu demonstration by Oceanside Shen Chinese Kung Fu Academy. Free. 12:15 to 1:15 p.m. on the lawn at MiraCosta College’s Oceanside campus, 1 Barnard Drive. Repeats at 12:15 p.m. Feb. 25 in the Student Center at MiraCosta’s San Elijo campus, 3333 Manchester, in Cardiff.

Feb. 18: Dinner lecture

Rosemary Gong, author of “Good Luck Life,” a guide to Chinese-American celebrations and culture, will talk about the Chinese New Year. A dinner buffet is included in the admission price of $30. 6:30 to 8 p.m. in Aztlan A & B of the Student Center at MiraCosta College’s Oceanside campus, 1 Barnard Drive. Gong will host a book signing at 5 p.m. in Aztlan A & B.

Feb. 19: Chinese film

International Film Series presents “Forever Enthralled,” a 2008 Chinese film about Mei Lanfang, a legendary Chinese opera performer. Free screenings will be at 10 a.m. in the Community Room at the MiraCosta College Community Learning Center, 1831 Mission Ave., Oceanside; 1 p.m. in Room 204 at MiraCosta College’s San Elijo campus, 3333 Manchester Ave., Cardiff; and 7 p.m. in Room 3601 at the college’s Oceanside campus, 1 Barnard Drive.

Feb. 20-21: 28th annual Chinese New Year Fair

From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the event features Chinese acrobats, lion and dragon dancers, Chinese folk dance and music, martial arts and the Asian Story Theater.

Families can join in Chinese crafts, Chinese calligraphy and a children’s activity area. An estimated 25,000 visitors are expected to attend. The festival, coordinated by the San Diego Chinese Center, includes 75 food and vendor booths, and is at the Asian Pacific Thematic Historic District in downtown San Diego (Third Avenue and J Street). or call the San Diego Chinese Center at (619) 398-7025 or e-mail

Feb. 27: North County Chinese School New Year’s Carnival and 30th anniversary celebration

Lion dances, performances, Chinese food and cultural exhibits, sponsored by the San Diego Chinese Cultural Association and San Diego North County Chinese School. Food and game booths from 11:10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. A New Year greeting is from 10:20 to 11:10 a.m. at Twin Peaks Middle School, 14640 Tierra Bonita Road, Poway. (858) 481-7782.

Feb. 27: Chinese lanterns

The Lantern Festival culminates the Chinese New Year celebrations. Learn about this more than 2,000-year-old expression of Chinese history and culture from 10 a.m. to noon at the Mingei International Museum in Balboa Park.

Create a paper lantern reflecting traditional Chinese themes and join in a parade of lanterns. The event is co-sponsored by the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum and presented with an exhibit of 56 Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) hatboxes.